This post is long overdue to share with you all. I get loads of emails from clients and friends asking me 'Jordan, what do I need to do to get my candida overgrowth under control?'. I have researched and experimented with many different healing modalities, foods and diets, and I can now happily say that I no longer have a candida overgrowth. I used to suffer from brain fog, periods where I couldn't really absorb new information, weird rashes popping up on my body, constant bloating where I looked 6 months pregnant, lethargy, digestive issues and SUGAR cravings. Man-o-man I could chow through a block of chocolate with ease in just one sitting...then still crave more afterwards. Because candida is one of the most asked about topic, I decided to write this blog and include some of the things that have worked well for myself and for my clients. I truly hope that if you're reading this and if you have a candida overgrowth that this post helps you on your quest to bring back balance to your gut. There is hope. So grab a cuppa and get comfy.
WHAT IS CANDIDA?
Candida albicans is a naturally occurring yeast. It can grow in the mouth, vagina and gastrointestinal tract. At normal levels its harmless and exists alongside the trillions of other bacteria in our body. However if you have gut imbalances, a stressful job, drink alcohol regularly, eat a diet high in processed and refined sugary foods, candida can easily overgrow. If someone has an overgrowth of candida, they can often appear to look healthy on the outside. Therefore many people (even healthcare professionals) are completely unaware that there is a candida infection deep within the body. Symptoms of candida can mimic a lot of other illnesses, so it can be easily mis-diagnosed.
SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY CANDIDA OVERGROWTH
· Lethargy (or chronic fatigue syndrome)
· Migraines and headaches
· Brain fog and difficulty concentrating or absorbing new information
· Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates
· Sinus issues
· Hormonal imbalances or menstrual irregularities
· Joint pain
· Digestive issues such as bloating, cramps, constipation or diarrhoea
· Skin issues such as acne or weird rashes
· Low immunity
· Low libido
· Bad breath
· White coating on the tongue
· Food sensitivities
· Weight issues and more
Other imbalances in the body can cause similar symptoms as well. I feel it is important to rule out other issues like gluten or dairy sensitivity, adrenal issues, blood sugar imbalances, emotional issues and even general fatigue before diagnosing yourself with candida overgrowth. There are always “layers” to our healing process. But what causes candida to get out of hand?
COMMON CANDIDA OVERGROWTH CAUSES
Lifestyle choices and other factors can allow candida to expand rapidly, including;
The contraceptive pill
Refined and processed foods
Sugar –the more sugar you consume, the more the candida will thrive, potentially leading to an overgrowth
Excess alcohol – alcohol contains sugar which nurtures the growth of candida, much like a high sugar diet
Low fibre diets - not eating enough vegetables
Widespread and overuse of medications and antibiotics – unfortunately antibiotics kill both the beneficial and bad bacteria in the body. This puts your body at risk of candida overgrowth as you won’t have enough of the beneficial bacteria that naturally keep candida at bay (or within a healthy range)
If you find that you have ticked a lot of boxes above that encourage candida growth, it could be likely that candida is contributing to your health issues. Thank-fully we can turn to nature and use real food as our medicine to help restore the body’s natural bacterial balance and improve your overall health.
WHAT SHOULD I AVOID?
I mentioned earlier that candida thrives on sugar + it’s also highly inflammatory and suppresses the immune system. Processed and refined foods high in wheat, sugar or sweeteners create an ideal living condition for candida to thrive in. So the most logical place to start battling candida is to remove the sources it grows from. It's important you remove ALL sources of sugar including; white sugar, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown sugar, agave, rice malt syrup etc. Stevia is the only safe alternative as it doesn't feed candida.
CANDIDA FEEDING FOODS
The following foods also encourage candida growth; wheat, potatoes, vinegars (except apple cider vinegar), peanuts, refined grains including corn and soy, high sugar fruits such as dried fruits, grapes, figs, banana, pineapple etc. and any high carbohydrate foods such as; bread, pasta, pizza, cereals and baked goods.
CAN YOU TEST FOR CANDIDA?
Unfortunately, most doctors still refuse to admit that Candida over-growth can have a huge impact on our health - even though research is now linking excess Candida to chronic health conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, IBS, celiac disease and even fibromyalgia. Candida over-growth can be detected by a comprehensive stool test, which I can organise for you through a one-on-one consultation. You can also get testing via blood or urine for Candida antibody levels or other Candida by-products.
CANDIDA FIGHTING FOODS
Eating the right foods is the most important aspect of getting Candida under control and building up the immune system. It’s really important you eliminate sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates as they are only contributing to the growth of the candida in your system. All foods should be as fresh and natural as possible, and free of additives, preservatives, pesticides, heavy metals and other harmful, dubious ingredients. By implementing the following foods into your diet, you will begin to attack and kill off the candida.
Coconut oil can effectively fight candida due to its antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. The combination of lauric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil kills off harmful yeasts through both ingestion and topical application. I use coconut oil in my cooking and also lather it on my skin.
Contains very powerful anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties. I add garlic to my fermented veggies + to most of my savoury dishes.
Oregano contains two antimicrobial agents called carvacrol and thymol that fight Candida and other pathogens. You can buy this in a liquid or capsule form. This is incredibly powerful stuff and is best taken under the guidance of a practitioner.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Contains acid, enzymes and anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and also aids digestion. Take 1 Tbsp of ACV and mix it with a glass of water and drink before every meal. The apple cider vinegar helps to fight off the intestinal yeast overgrowth by actually killing candida while helping to create a good environment for friendly gut flora.
Contains an anti-inflammatory component called ‘curcumin’ which has been shown to inhibit the growth of candida. I recommend making up a quick anti-inflammatory drink: simply mix 1tsp of turmeric + a pinch of pepper + lemon juice to taste + 1 Tbsp of coconut yoghurt in 1/2 cup of filtered water. The pepper and fats in the coco yoghurt ensure the anti-inflammatory properties are absorbed more effectively. Or simply incorporate more turmeric to your recipes such as; Turmeric Fried Rice, Turmeric Latte or my Golden Gut Lovin Chu Chu’s . If you don't like the taste of turmeric you can also buy these turmeric capsules.
Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory spice with added anti-fungal properties. Similar to caprylic acid, it appears to damage yeast cells, causing them to denature and eventually die off. I sprinkle cinnamon on top of my morning bulletproof coffee or sprinkle it on top of my sugar-free smoothy bowls.
The essential oil of lemons contains mild anti-fungal properties. Lemon’s main role in the diet is to help detoxify your liver as it tries to fight off the Candida. I'll often make either my favourite green juice ‘Kidney Cleansing Green Juice’ or my 'Pineapple, Turmeric, Lemon & Ginger Juice' because it's a quick an easy way to combat inflammation, boost your immune system, get your daily dose of probiotics & enzymes + fight that nasty candida overgrowth. It will leave you feeling fabulous.
Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols, the anti-inflammatory and antifungal components of the ginger root. As a bonus, ginger also provides significant liver support while your body is detoxifying the Candida overgrowth. i actually used to hate ginger. Now I love adding ginger to my fermented juices, fermented veggies, savoury meals, soups and curries....pretty much everything.
BRAIN OCTANE OIL
Brain Octane Oil also has potent anti-microbial effects that help to support healthy digestion and immune function. It’s rich in caprylic acid and is 18x stronger than coconut oil. It is also a potent anti-fungal that kills Candida cells, as well as restoring our stomach acidity to normal levels. I add this to my morning bulletproof coffee, Bulletproof Ice Cream, slices and more; it's incredible for removing any brain fog you have + it provides you with sustained energy.
Aid in alkalising the body which helps to fight against the acidic nature of yeast overgrowth. Leafy greens and green vegetables don’t contain sugar, but contain magnesium, Vitamin C, Iron, chlorophyll, all which help to detox, cleanse and give the body full support and energy. I recommend you have something green with every meal.
Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and cabbage are all cruciferous veggies. They’re rich in sulfur and nitrogen which attack candida. These veggies also provide fibre to act as a prebiotic for “re-florestation” of your good gut bacteria so they can also regain balance. I know a lot of people struggle to get these veggies into their daily diet, so why not try roasted brussel sprouts or my 'Roasted Broccoli Chips' or 'Cauliflower Puree' which is silky heaven on a spoon.
GRASS-FED BUTTER & GHEE
Both are high sources of butyric acid—the primary energy source for the gut that helps to reduce inflammation. Grass-fed butter and ghee also contains lauric acid—a potent antimicrobial and anti-fungal substance. I use butter or ghee every single day in my cooking.
You can read all about why I think ghee is a superfood HERE.
ONE MORE THING…
The main factor at keeping Candida under control is nurturing and nourishing the right gut bugs. If we have a healthy gut, we also have a healthy immune systems which keep things balanced. So it’s important to load up on naturally probiotic rich fermented foods.
Fermented foods are naturally rich in beneficial bacteria. However it's important you use the right 'starter culture' to ferment your fruit or veggies in. I only use and recommend Kultured Wellness Probiotic Starter Cultures as they contain incredible benefits, therapeutic grade probiotics + anti-candida properties. These cultures are essential to help ‘crowd out’ the candida yeast, boost the immune system, aid digestion, regulate the PH in the intestinal tract, prevent infections from spreading and loads more. Beautiful fermented foods you can include in your diet are; coconut water kefir, coconut yoghurt and fermented veggies these will all make the body less hospitable for candida.
Have a look at my latest blogs for more information on gut health and fermentation
CANDIDA & DETOX
It’s not uncommon to experience some detox and ‘die-off’ symptoms while you make a change in your diet and introduce some of the beautiful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial foods to start attacking the candida. This is because your body is working hard to dump all the waste and release toxins, and your immune system is reacting. Many people experience anything from flu-like symptoms to rashes to acne to brain fog and lethargy. It’s critical you assist your body through this detox process. Read this blog - Warning Signs Your Body Needs a Detox + 7 Simple Ways to Naturally Detox Your Body for heaps more tips and information.
You can also try my Kidney Cleansing Green Juice. Its main ingredient is celery juice. Did you know that celery is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods out there? One of the best things about celery is that it starves unproductive bacteria, mould, yeast, viruses and fungus that are in the body, and flushes all of their toxins out of the liver and intestinal tract!!!! It’s fantastic for aiding in cleansing and healing the gut wall, improves kidney function, great for a sluggish liver and alkalises the gut. This is a juice I personally relied heavily on to support my body whilst tackling my candida detox. It’s still my favourite go-to juice to this day and I can easily go through 1L per day, my body just LOVES it!
FURTHER TREATMENT & SUPPORT
If you want to get advanced candida support and guidance to start taking action and tackling your candida overgrowth naturally (without using harmful medications and antibiotics) then now’s the time to act.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is not presented with the intention of diagnosing any condition or disease or prescribing any herbs as treatment. All the information is offered purely as information only and for use to maintain and promote good health. Always consult your medical practitioner or health care practitioner if you have chronic or unusually persistent candida infections. This could be a sign of an underlying illness or immune system dysfunction, which makes for an environment more conducive to the growth of candida.